Getting to Know Andrew Davidson, Senior Vice President for University Advancement
BC’s Jesuit mission and an enthusiastic alumni base excite this veteran fundraiser as he takes on a new role at the Heights
Everyone has their own Boston College origin story, even those who never attended a class at the Heights.
“It’s hard to grow up in this area and not have plenty of friends and family who have gone to Boston College or are connected to BC,” says Andrew Davidson, who officially became a member of the BC community on March 1 when he started his role as senior vice president for university advancement. “I don’t have any immediate family connections, but it feels like I’m coming home in some respects.”
Davidson, who remembers “jumping around” in his living room following the Flutie-to-Phelan Hail Mary, does have multiple extended family members who have graduated from BC, including his late father-in-law, Hon. Francis P. O’Connor, JD’53, who served as a justice on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.
Warm and welcoming, Davidson brings to the Heights more than two decades of experience fundraising at Harvard and Dartmouth. He is excited to join a University that he says is “firing on all cylinders” and also to meet as many of the 204,000 global BC alumni as possible in order to explore ways to keep them connected to their alma mater. As an avid rower, he also hopes to find time for some early-morning sessions on the Charles River.
Just before his first day of work in Cadigan Alumni Center, Davidson sat down for a chat about what makes BC unique and how he hopes to add to this passionate community.
From your perspective, what sets BC apart?
Andrew Davidson: I think BC is unique in its mission. You’re starting with very smart kids who come here and they work hard and they receive a great education. But there are plenty of schools like that. What they’re getting here is inculcated in the Jesuit mission and the belief that you’re going to go out in the world and use your talents, your gifts, and your education to help serve others.
What sorts of commonalities exist among the BC alumni in your network?
AD: I’ve yet to meet a BC alum that’s not passionate about this place. They can be passionately happy, they can be passionately upset—but at least they’re passionate. And that’s key. It’s hard to work with a group that’s apathetic.
So, how do we foster that passion? They’re having families, or they’re working, or they’re contributing to their community in some way. Understandably, we recess into the background of their lives. And so we have to figure out how to intersect with their lives where they are, provide some meaningful context, and keep those embers burning so that when they do have time to reengage with us at the level that they can, we’re there to meet them where they are.
And what excites you about meeting BC alumni?
AD: To do this job well, you have to be curious and you have to be interested in meeting everyone. Something I’m really excited about is, you throw on a Boston College sweatshirt and—pick a city: you’re in Atlanta, you’re in Phoenix, you’re in LA—somebody’s going to walk up to you and say, ‘Oh, did you go to Boston College?’ It provides an opportunity to have a conversation. That’s what makes life interesting and fun.
You attended Rutgers—the Scarlet Knights. You also worked at Harvard—the Crimson. So what is your favorite shade of red?
AD: Oh, it’s got to be maroon! I love going to places where you can become part of the community, and I’m really looking forward to getting my BC gear!